Thomas Ray Thedford was born on a farm in Chandler, Texas, on January 28, 1936. He died suddenly on April 19, 2018.
Tom was the first child of Ray Thedford and Sara Lee Selman Thedford Bullard. A loving son, and a loving grandson to nearby grandparents, Tom was also a wonderful brother to his four sisters. From his family, Tom learned young to work hard and to play hard. At seventeen, he went to college at Texas A & M. There in 1957 he earned his B.Sc. in animal science and in 1959 his D.V.M. All his adult life, he was a proud Aggie.
While still in college he met and married his first wife, Nancy Jane Martin. In 1959, Tom worked as a ranch veterinarian in Waco, then moved with Nancy to Floydada to start his own practice. Together they had two children: Rebecca Ann and Miriam Clare. He was a loving husband and father, and the family made many good friends and wonderful memories both in Oklahoma and around the world.
In 1965, Tom and his family moved to Oklahoma, where Tom was a full-time faculty member in Oklahoma State University's Veterinary Medicine Department.
In 1974, the Thedfords moved to Kenya, Africa, where Tom taught at the University of Nairobi and met lifelong friends. In 1982, he was chosen to attend an FDA-sponsored school in New York on foreign animal diseases. Then in 1988, Tom worked as a researcher on goat production and diseases in Botswana.
When Tom returned to OSU in 1990, he became Assistant Dean for Outreach and was also Director of Veterinary Extension and Continuing Education and Coordinator of Student, College, and Alumni Affairs.
He also worked at Winrock International in Arkansas and did some goat work in Haiti.
Tom retired from OSU in 1998 but continued for many years to teach a course on sheep, goats, and llamas. Tom authored many publications, including Sheep Health Handbook and the very popular Goat Health Handbook.
Tom delivered many talks about llamas for veterinarians and for producers. He was active in First Presbyterian Church in Stillwater and on his rural water board.
After Tom's first wife died, he met Libby Stott. They married in 2001, the day before his 65th birthday. True soulmates, Tom and Libby lived a life full of love, laughter, and adventure. They traveled to many countries; went to poetry readings, concerts, and rodeos; had endless discussions; and did their best to live each day to the fullest.
Tom was always working with his hands, heart and mind. He worked with wood, grew gardens, and was fascinated by geography, agriculture, plants and animals. Very interested in education, Tom and his wife Libby established several scholarships. He was a man of many adventures and always wanted to know what was around the next bend. He lived his life with no regrets.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Nancy Jane Martin; his sister Nancy Tharp; and his daughter Rebecca Furtado.
Tom is survived by his wife, Libby Stott; his daughter Miriam Boydston; his grandchildren, Alexis Furtado and Baxter Boydston; and his sons-in-law, Bobby Boydston and Mark Furtado; and by his cat, Compo.
He is also survived by his sisters Betsy Jacobs, Margaret Looper (Joel), and Sally Dengerud (Cliff); by his stepmother, Ruth Thedford; and by many loved nieces and nephews. Further, he leaves behind members of his wives' families, who were proud to adopt him, and many friends.
Those wishing to donate in Tom's honor should send their gifts to Meridian Technology Foundation ("Scholarships"), 1312 S. Sangre Rd, Stillwater OK 74074.
"If I were any better," Tom used to say, "I'd have to be twins."
Considering all the work he did, the things he knew, and the love that he gave, I reckon he was triplets.
Published on May 11, 2018